Eskdale Mill

Boot, Eskdale, CA19 1TG
Eskdale Mill

Image thanks to Eskdale Mill

Nestled deep in Eskdale valley, Eskdale Mill is a small piece of history that is best visited as part of trip on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway line.

Thought to be over 500 years old, the mill was saved from certain dereliction when it was purchased 12 years ago by the Eskdale Mill and Heritage Trust charity. One million pounds of funding was raised to secure its future and, after a long period of restoration and conservation work, in 2019, the mill reopened to the public.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01946 723 335 / Website
Cost:
Adults £4, Children £2
Seasonal Opening:
Scheduled days only between November and April
 

History

Eskdale Mill

Image thanks to Eskdale Mill

Eskdale Mill is the last remaining water-powered corn mill in the Lake District. The present mill is believed to date back to the mid-18th century, but records from the 13th century also refer to a mill in Eskdale. When Edward Hartley purchased the site in 1737, the pre-existing mill probably dated back to the Medieval period. He added additional walls and installed a new wheel and machinery created from local ash and oak. The miller’s cottage and stables were then added, followed by the drying kiln. The mill operated successfully for several years and provided milled corn and oats for farmers in the Eskdale valley who would provide the crops. Later, German millstones for milling wheat were also added, allowing Eskdale residents to create their own flour for breadmaking.

Around the rest of the UK, the 19th century was a period of significant change with access to cheaper foreign imports replacing UK grown cereals. Developments in technology resulted in large scale mills that were more efficient than smaller operations. However, Eskdale, being so remote, still relied on its mill for food production well into the 20th century. The last miller, Ned Bibby, struggled financially to keep the business afloat and the mill began to fall into disrepair, closing down in the 1930s. His daughter later installed a generator in the building to create electricity for the village of Boot until mains was eventually added. The mill was purchased by Cumbria County Council in the 1970s who began the conservation process, before it was sold on to the charitable trust that was established solely to preserve the mill for future generations.

Things To See

Eskdale Mill

Image thanks to Eskdale Mill

Although conservation and restoration work is still ongoing, visitors are now able to view a working corn mill in action thanks to the recreation and restoration of the machinery that would have been used in the 18th century. An exhibition gives detailed information about the mill’s history and how the milling process works.

Two of the traditional waterwheels have been restored and are now working, along with a third modern wheel that generates electricity that feeds into the National Grid, demonstrating how mills still have a place in the modern world. Other buildings, such as the stables, have also been restored along with the stone packhorse bridge.

Useful Information

This is a fairly small attraction that takes no more than an hour to go around, which is reflected in the price. It’s therefore best to combine a visit to the mill with a ride on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway to make the most of your time in the Eskdale valley. The mill is a short walk from Dalegarth Station and there are a couple of pubs in the area that serve food.

Map

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